Extinction Rebellion Autumn Uprising Continues

Last night the met police used a section 14 order banning all protests in relation to extinction rebellions autumn uprising.

Despite this, Extinction Rebellion planted a caravan outside of Mi5 on Millbank this morning. Two UK doctors glued themselves to the caravan in protests at the Government’s failure to act on air pollution. The police are on the scene en mass, and they are stopping and searching people entering the area.

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Eek, I’ve Started A Piece Of Photo-journalism, And I’m Very Excited

I have to say that I am experiencing that wonderful warm glow of having tried something new. Look, it was messy, I have no interview technique. Listening and hearing some while, whilst considering future questions is bloody hard work. I don’t know how people do it.

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But the point is, I’ve just done it. Extinction Rebellion are a group whom I believe in their sound, rational philosophy. If we don’t act now then it will be top late. Armed with my OMD EM 10 MK III and the Mzuiko 14-42 lens, I went to Trafalgar Square and have interviewed two people and taking their portraits. Over the next few days I will repeat the process, and then write up my report for The Sociological Mail

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The report will be written in the style of my photo-essay’s, but will also include quotes from those who I have interviewed. It’s the interviewing that gets me excited. It’s been a joy to interview Mike and Willy today.

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Photographically, photo-journalism has not been a genre that I’ve felt an affinity for, but I can see how it dances around with the kind of photography of which I’m passionate, but I can now see potential.

The Listening Place

Face-to-face support for those who no longer feel life is worth living

The Listening Place is a London based charity who provide face to face support for those who feel life is no longer worth living. I do not believe that I would be alive if it hadn’t been for the support of The Listening Place.

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My initial contact was a self referral over the telephone, followed by a face to face assessment at Meade Mews. It felt more like an informal chat about my current difficulties.

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The next step was recieving a phone call to confirm that I was being offered support, and a date for the first session. Sessions are once a fortnight, same day, same time and with the same volunteer. After six sessions there is a review to see whether support is still required.

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It’s OK to arrive early and sit in the small but beautiful gardens, and I’ve needed time after a session to sit in the peace and collect my thoughts before getting on with the rest of the day.

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Thankyou to you all at The Listening Place.

The Listening Place 0203 906 7676

referrals@listeningplace.org.uk

listeningplace.org.uk

Coping With A Mental Health Crisis

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My mental health has taken a nose dive recently. I’m coming out of it now, but it’s been unbearable. If it wasn’t for the support of The Listening Place then I would have ended my life, I had plans to.

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This relapse has built up slowly over a few months, and it began with an increase in anxiety and paranoid thinking. Whenever I heard sounds or talking from nearby buildings I believed that the people in those homes were talking about me, and planning to kill me.

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It’s been so intense that I have been too afraid to stay in my home during the day, and I would go to bed and wake up full of anxiety. When I wasn’t experiencing paranoid thoughts I was thinking of how I could kill myself.

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I’ve been so exhausted by the anxiety, paranoia and suicidal thoughts, and this rose to a crescendo at the beggining of last week. I’m grateful that my friends, The Listening Place and the mental health crisis team have been there to support me.

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One of the most positive aspects is that I have been able to nurture myself. Not perhaps in the traditional sense, but it’s worked. I accepted that I could not stay in during the day, so I took myself out. I’ve been to so many places, Wood Green, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Tottenham Hale, Walthamstow Wetlands, Stave Hill Eco Park, London Wetlands, Clapham, Hammersmith, Trafalgar Square. I also visited my cousin, and I’m going to stay with a friend shortly. My favourite trip was to Heathrow Airport. There’s an area of grassland near the south runway which is used by many to watch the aircraft come and go. I feel guilty for liking aircraft when I know how much damage they do to the environment, but I do like them, and the day relaxed me. I’ve also been meeting my daily calorific need and I’ve cut out caffeine.

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It hasn’t been easy to motivate myself, to be honest about how much I was struggling, and to seek support, but I’ve done it. I’ve also found that if I feel unsafe at home then I put wax earplugs in. They block the surrounding noise and that helps a lot. I’ve felt such an urgent need to leave home that I’ve barely done any washing, and no housework at all.

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But things are easing now. I’m still experiencing some paranoia, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but the intensity has lessened. Life has been so painful, but I’ve created peace and calmness by going out to these places. Photography has been my bearer of peace. Thank goddess that it provides me with such an escape. I’m feeling very grateful, and you know what – I’m proud of how much effort I have put in to survive.

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The Listening Place is a London based charity which provides face to face support for people who feel that life is no longer worth living.

Research For Square Mile – EYV

I haven’t signed up for the Undergraduate BA Hons Photography degree with The Open College of the Arts as yet (January), but I’m aware of the first assignment. With this knowledge I’m preparing some preliminary research.

My photography will take place in an area of London which is known as the Square Mile (also known as The City). My initial idea was to explore the disparity between visible wealth and poverty. However, with my left wing views its easy to discriminate against what my idea of the wealthy are. I’m fascinated by people and I want that fascination to be explored more fully during this assignment.

Browsing some books for sale in a church I noticed one called “The City – The Traditions And Powerful Personalities Of The World’s Greatest Financial Centre” which I will use as the starting point of my research.

IMG_20190923_091145Fig. 1. The Bank Of England (1982) “The Chief Gatekeeper and the Assistant Gatekeeper dressed in full livery and carrying the staff of office, in the entrance hall of the Bank of England.”

My research will include “Humans Of New York Stories” by Brandon Stanton. This work becomes relevant as I aim to make portraits of the people whom I encounter and involve a brief interview so that I can present image with text about the person.

 

This post is at the beginning of my research and I will update this as I progress.

 

References

Staunton, B; 2013; Humans Of New York Stories; Online; AT; https://www.humansofnewyork.com/about

Images

Figure 1 Lowe, J and McLachlan, S; 1982; The Bank Of England [Photo]; In Lowe, J and McLachlan, S; 1982; The City – The Traditions And Powerful Personalities Of The World’s Greatest Financial Centre; London; Quartet Books LTD; pp 94

The Photo Which I Didn’t Post Yesterday, And Why

A situation evolved before me yesterday, one with a humanistic, moralistic and Sociological perspective. Whilst I was waiting for a bus a naked guy parades up and down the street. He was speaking non aggressively in a language which I didn’t recognise. On the whole people were ignoring him, other than an occasional person who tried encouraging him to cover up.

At this point I decided not to take a photo, because I didn’t want to write or publish an article which would have been embarrassing for him. I suspected that his mental health was influencing his behaviour.

The police arrived, and the aforementioned naked guy assaulted the police officer. The officers colleague shouted “tazer” and as the guy went to assault her she fired the tazer.

When the guy was face down on the floor I took a photo, reasoning that he couldn’t be identified, and the discharging of a tazer is of current Sociological importance and is “newsworthy”

However, I’m not a photo journalist, its not my style of photography. There is a significant debate upon the arming of police with tazers, which is worth exploring. But I still decided to delete the photo rather than publish it.

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Seeing a police officer assaulted, and an unarmed man tazered is frightening, and would have been more upsetting for the man and the police. I believe the guy was having some form of mental breakdown, and ultimately it’s why I didn’t publish the photo.

I’m in favour of the police having tazers. There have been several vicious assaults on the police recently and they need to be able to apprehend an assailant, for their own, and the publics protection. Arguably, if yesterday’s event had have played out in other countries the guy could have been shot dead, so I’m in favour of more tazers over more guns.

There is a need for photo journalism and documentary photography, and yesterday I was faced with a choice. We all do as photographers, we all have our preferred genre and field of expertise. Most of the time there is no right and wrong in photography, and yesterday was a personal choice that suited my weighing up of external and internal drivers.

 

Changing Perspective – Kneeling Whilst Making Photo’s

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Walking with a crutch provided me with the opportunity to experiment with perspective. I can balance and keep the weight off my right heel, but what do I then do with the crutch? It’s made it hard to make photo’s unless I put the crutch down on the floor and kneel down. With this being the case I thought I’d make the most of it and explore what I could learn from the altered perspective.

When standing to take a photo, the head is generally pointing slightly down towards the horizon. From this viewpoint the sky takes up a third of the photo and the land takes two thirds of the space. When kneeling, the eye is looking up towards the horizon and reverses the sky to land ratio as below.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Usually this doesn’t work and detracts from the subject, the land. However, the above photo is balanced. The line of the boats mast balances the geometry and breaks the photo up. It would have been a better photo if the sailing boats had been further to the left, they would have made a nice subject.

In a narrow street, this new perspective makes the street appear narrower, but brings the buildings in closer to the centre, which could be good to highlight city lines, or to add an emotional tension (being followed on a dark night/a chase scene), especially when a short focal length is used.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

But, with a spacious foreground, a clear line through the image becomes prominent.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

In the wide open space of a Victoria train station the lines of the metalwork are heightened, and the spaciousness can emphasise the activity of the people. I like this shot.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

My favourite of the series comes next.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

OK, so the photo needs to be retaken without the people in the red and orange shirts. Putting that to the side I’ve found a real lesson for bringing the best out of a subject. The lower horizon provides more space in the sky, and this works well with the neutral foreground. And voila – the subject is what my eye looks at. I’m drawn to look closer at the detail. I love it.

Kneeling behind the prominade fence in the next scene creates layers of activity. Not the greatest of photos though. It would work better with a yacht on the sea, the eye needs a point of focus, but the layering works well.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

And finally, I don’t know if this was related to kneeling down and thereby being in a more submissive stance, or not, but I felt more confidence in making Street photography whilst I was in Brighton. Regardless of the reason, or lack thereof, it was fun to take photos of people.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton – An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

The intention behind this series was to create a simple documentary of a day out, but to shoot the photos from a kneeling position. Using a crutch makes photography difficult to do whilst standing up, so I thought I could make use of the need to kneel by exploring the altered perspective. I will write a further post to write about what I’ve learned about this, and to discuss the difficulties I’ve had with white balance and digital developing.

Of note, I felt reasonably comfortable whilst making the street photography for this series, which is an unusual experience for me.

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Brighton - An Unexpected Journey

Reflections Upon Improving Suicidal Ideation, Anorexia And Paranoia

The past few weeks have been incredibly challenging for me, with intense paranoia, suicidality and relapse with my eating disorder. It’s been a very painful time to be honest, and I’ve needed to delve into the pain in order to survive.

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Diving into the pain means to stop resisting it, to lean into it and to allow it to be, just as it is. It’s had me curled up on my bed in tears and too scared to move, and it’s taken me into leaving my home upon awakening and returning in the evening because I’ve been to scared to be at home. Paranoia is a fucker, I hate it, it’s been overwhelming, but it’s eased somewhat.

The shift happened last Thursday when it hit me that despite feeling unsafe, I’ve actually been safe. I’ve used the rationalisation for a while, but it finally dropped into place.

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Going to Brighton last Sunday and Monday was a decision to go out because I wanted to, not because I felt that I had to. I have spent most of the last week out as well, as an act of protecting my mental health. There’s a workman decorating the communal space and having him around triggers my experience of paranoia, so I’ve been out every day, and I will be for the next week too. Sometimes it’s knowing which fight to battle and which to accept. The good news is that I’ve stayed at home this weekend. I’ve felt anxious, I’ve experienced paranoid thinking, but it’s been at a level that I can cope with.

The fear has reduced significantly, and I believe this has had a positive impact upon my eating disorder. I’ve increased my food intake to around 3/4 of my bodies daily requirement. My body is larger than I want it to be, heavier than what I feel comfortable with, but I’m eating more and I feel better for it.

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Life is still a challenge, I don’t find living easy, but this week has been more enjoyable. Getting out with my camera on my trip to Brighton was very enjoyable, and shooting whilst being down on my knees has been a learning experience and I’m going to post about that over the next couple of days.

A friend sent me a link to an artists call for submission for a health related exhibition. Submitting was such an invigorating thing to do. I felt alive with enthusiasm and passion. I haven’t had the motivation to continue with embroidering on photography as yet, but it will return. I’m sleeping for longer and up later in the day, my most creative time, but the motivation will return.

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